It’s been a long time since A.J. Foyt’s team was in the conversation at Indianapolis. At least in terms of challenging for the win. But it was Throwback Sunday for the IndyCar legend as Tony Kanaan flexed his muscles early and charged into the lead only to be foiled by a flat tire. Then, as he was mounting a nifty comeback in traffic, the 43-year-old veteran crashed with 11 laps to go.
“It’s a damn shame because I don’t think anybody could run with us today — hell, Tony was saving fuel when he decided to go into the lead,” said Foyt, who hired Kanaan and Matheus Leist this season in his ABC Supply Chevys.
“That cut tire really hurt us. Tony was so strong and then that happens.”
Starting 10th, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner led 19 laps and was running second (pictured above) before suffering a punctured tire on Lap 98 and losing a lap.
“We had a great day going and we had a puncture, and that put us behind all day long,” said Kanaan. “So I was playing catch-up.”
He stormed back to ninth place when he lost control and spun in Turn 2.
“It’s not from lack of trying,” he continued. “We came back from all the way back of the pack to inside the top 10. Great restarts, and oh my God. It wasn’t our day.
“To finish ninth or less for me, it doesn’t matter. I’m not trying to make an excuse. I made a mistake trying. That for me, in my book, is totally fine. I’m looking forward to the future on this team.”
Foyt had no problem with Kanaan’s 25th place.
“Tony came and apologized afterwards and I told him he didn’t owe me any apology, he was running hard, trying to make up for losing a lap that wasn’t his fault.”
The irascible Texan was also proud of his team’s pit stops and his 19-year-old rookie.
“We did have some good pit stops and it’s about time we got it right,” he said. “And I thought Matt did a good job. He got chopped pretty bad by (Graham) Rahal on that last restart and ended up 13th but he ran damn good.
“They knew we were here today and we’ll be back next year and we’ll be strong.”